Learning by doing – An exploration of experience, critical incidents and reflection in entrepreneurial learning

  • Cope J
  • Watts G
  • 208

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 360

    Citations

    Citations of this article.

Abstract

This research explores the learning process of entrepreneurs in relation to the parallel processes of personal and business development. Building on theories of individual learning and of the business life‐cycle, this paper discusses the impact of critical incidents from an individual perspective and, in particular, their role within entrepreneurial learning. A phenomenological case study approach was employed, with the sample consisting of six small business owners. The interviews concentrated on the developmental history of the business, focusing on critical incidents as they arose in the general conversation. The findings emphasise the complexity of the concept of “critical incident” and demonstrate that entrepreneurs often face prolonged and traumatic critical periodsor episodes, illustrating the emotionally‐laden nature of these events. Furthermore, the critical incidents described here resulted in fundamental, higher‐level learning, and highlight the need for mentoring support programmes designed to help entrepreneurs to interpret critical incidents as learning experiences, in order to increase the power of the learning outcomes. The authors conclude by stressing the need for further theory development that conceptualises the complex and dynamic interactivity between the individual and the business

Author-supplied keywords

  • Case studies
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Experiential learning
  • Life-cycle analysis
  • Methodology
  • Proactive approaches

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Authors

  • Jason Cope

  • Gerald Watts

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free